Christian Apologetics Student Group Gains Ground at Universities Giving Students Intelligent Arguments To Defend Their Faith

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   4/24/2012

While browsing through books, a couple picked up a popular teenage Sunday School curriculum, chatted briefly, then put it down. What was missing? Apologetics.

"Apologetics" is the defense or proof of Christianity. Church leaders have come to recognize the importance of students learning apologetics and being able to defend their faith before they leave home.

A student who knows what he believes and why he believes not only strengthens his faith in God; he is also prepared to speak up when his faith is slaughtered in hostile environments-- particularly at a secular university.

The group Ratio Christi has also seen this importance. Ratio Christi is latin for "the reason of Christ" and operates like a club or chapter on college campuses.

Both Lee Strobel and Chuck Colson have taken notice of this ministry.

"It's no understatement that the church has done a poor job in teaching our young people that reason and faith are not opposites...," Colson said in a Christian Post article.

Colson quoted the Barna Research Group, which reports that three in five "Christian" kids leave the church after age 15. According to Colson, most kids check out of the church after age 15. Most "Christian" young people don't know how the Bible applies to their daily occupation.

President of Ratio Christi, Rick Schenker, told the Christian Post, "We believe, like Colson, that the Christian world offers the best explanation for all of the issues of life. And that we can equip university students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ."

They accomplish this through what they call servant-discipleship: "...We desire to be the ground troops in the movement to re-establish Christian thinking as a potent influence in society. This can only be accomplished by serving day in and day out on the campus."

A Ratio Christi group may hold weekly meetings like other Christian groups, but is different in that Ratio Christi seeks to work with other student ministries and faculty by offering apologetics training. Also, their student meetings are discussion-oriented instead of lecture-oriented. Students are free to ask questions-- any questions. Leaders of Ratio Christi are not afraid of confronting conflicting thoughts on campus. They address these questions with individual students and in large-group settings through interfaith dialogues, lectures and debates.

They have a strong purpose for their work. "Ratio Christi believes that Christians have failed to address the pressing questions of worldview, science, philosophy, history, etc.," stated the Ratio Christi website. "Consequently, the Secular Humanist worldview has overtaken the university and the minds of students. By situating apologetic clubs at universities across the nation, we hope to take part in the battle for the mind, and begin to reverse the Humanist trend of thought by providing and equipping students with the answers, or means of getting the answers, to the pressing questions of life."

Ratio Christi's mission statement hopes to address these areas which have been missing in Christian culture for some time. Their mission statement includes "a global movement that equips university students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ... We unashamedly defend the veracity of God, the Bible, and Christ’s resurrection and engage in the battle for the mind."

They have been successful in the lives of individual students. One named "JP" from North Carolina State wrote, "Ratio Christi has given me something that I did not know exists; a rational and logical defense for my faith. When I dialogue with atheists, they are shocked I have a defense... We must get this information to each and every campus."

"I gained my faith back after the first lecture," wrote another student from Ohio State University. "Three days ago, everybody made me feel stupid for believing in God ever since I got in college... I was beginning to lose my faith from day one at OSU... Dr. Turek, made me feel I'm sane and I'm smart for believing in God."

It is no surprise that this ministry has boomed. The group has been in operation for almost four years and has exploded from 12 to 65 chapters within less than a year. Most of these chapters are in North America, but three others exist in India, Brazil and South Africa. This sudden growth has put stress on their funding and ability to respond to the hastening of interested.

To support their work, visit their website: www.ratiochristi.org

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